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2016 Ozark Rally – April 28th – 30th, Mountain View, AR

Ozark Poster 2016Daily rides around one of the best riding region in the USA. Rally headquarters at the Ozark Folk Center State Park. Great food, bench racing and the best looking bikes around the Forest.

Book your rooms by calling (870) 269-3871 and mention the Yamaha 650 Society for a special rate ($70.00/night). There are 2 rooms per bungalow and the Park has reserved a set of bungalows for us. For more information call John Chaves (813) 391-five four zero seven or email


  • Thursday (April 28th) – Noon. Meet & greet. Short ride (Loop 0, 98 miles) int he afternoon
  • Friday (April 29th)- Full riding day (Loop 2, 268 miles)
    • 7:00 – 8:30 AM – Breakfast at the OFC restaurant
    • Lunch  at the Low Gap Cafe in Low Gap, AR
    • 7:30 PM – Dinner at the OFC restaurant
  • Saturday (April 30th) Loop 1
    • 7:00 – 8:30 AM – Breakfast at the OFC restaurant
    • Lunch at the Neighborhood Diner –
    • 7:30 – Dinner drive/ride to Mi Pueblito 4 Mexican Restaurant in downtown Mountain View. Awards time!
  • Sunday (May 1st) – Drive home.

Ozark Rides

This and That

The 2016 Calendar is fresh out of the shop. All the usual rallies are there including the Ozark Rally which will be held on a later date (April 28th) to avoid conflicts with other events. We had a great time last year so make plans to attend. The ride around the Forest is nothing short of amazing.

There’s also lots of good stuff under the “Other Events & Rides” including three great events here in Florida. The Dania Beach Vintage Motorcycle show (January 30th) is one of the best shows in the country, reuniting bikes from Milwaukee to Munich, under the glorious Florida winter sun. If you are planning a winter escapade, keep this date in mind.

The Iron & Clematis event, held in downtown West Palm Beach (Feb 13th), is gaining popularity as THE vintage & café racer show in the southeast US. Over 300 motorcycles signed up for the show last year and the organizers have asked the City to use a 3rd block of Clematis Ave. to accommodate growth. As always, there are stunning XS-based café and tracker builds.

If you have never been to the Riding into History Concours d’Elegance (May 20th) you don’t know what you’re missing. Hosted every spring at the gorgeous World Golf Village in St. Augustine, FL, the show features a dazzling array of exotic and one-of-a-kind classic motorcycles from all over the world. In 2015, the Barber Museum (Leeds, AL) brought a few racing Yamaha gems, including several 4 cylinder, 2-stroke TZ750s.

Finally, many members have told me that they would love to participate in many of the Society’s rallies but the distance to the event is often the reason they can’t go. Without a trailer, the round trip can be a challenge so I am summoning all members with trailers, vans & trucks to help a fellow Society member in hauling their rides to the rallies.

Starting in this issue, there will be a new section in the newsletter (and website) called Haul a Member, containing the contact information of those who wish to participate in the program in two ways: Offering a ride or needing a ride.

I will kick start this campaign by offering my transportation services from Central Florida. Contact me directly to check rally participation.

Now, it’s your turn.

How Would You Like It to Be?

While raising my two kids I asked them, on a few occasions, the very same question, especially during their teenage years. It was my way of guiding them through their choices in life, giving them perspective and a glimpse of the consequences for the options they made. It worked beautifully as they are both fantastic human beings and well set in their life and careers.

Now I ask the same question to our members: How would you like our Society to be? Just a club where a handful of guys hang out 3 times a year doing the same old thing, or a true club that promotes a unique motorcycle icon like Jim envisioned almost 40 years ago?

Rally participation is down and virtual interaction, aside from our Facebook page, is virtually nil despite our continuous requests for photos and riding stories to contribute to the newsletter. Is everybody really that busy? You don’t like the locations of the rallies? Tell us!

One of the Society’s main mission is to connect 650 owners all over the world and we can do this by serving as a medium for this international free flow of ideas, experiences, and thoughts. Think of us being a members-only, paper-based Internet. Have a technical problem? Email or snail mail it to us! Either our tech guru Dick Russell or somebody in…err… Finland will have an answer/suggestion for you. Got a crazy riding story from back in the day? We’d love to publish it!

We are, arguably, one of the oldest motorcycle model enthusiast club in the world and, if you want it to survive for more generations to come, we’ll need your help to promote it and – most importantly – recruit new members. That includes the younger riders who are excited about their 650-based choppers, bobbers, and trackers despite your opinions about their chop, cut & rebuild creations. I often park my restored 75 next to them at local bike shows and they all get excited to see an original one. I may not agree with their creations but I do appreciate the craftsmanship and effort they put in their build.

I don’t want to sound all negative here. Membership is up and we are sound financially. The only thing missing is YOU.

2015 Ozarks Rally Preview

Ozark Poster 2015The inaugural Ozark Rally is less than a month away and, judging by online buzz, it’s promising to be a blast.  According to Jennifer Ferrau (Ozark Folk Center Group Sales Manager), over 20 rooms have been booked so far and the Center is excited that we are coming.

From the “icing on the cake” department: the Music Director of the Ozark Folk Center, Daren Dortin, rides an XS650! He was ecstatic when he heard of the rally and volunteered to put together a few riding routes for us.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASpeaking of routes, we have many ride options, from short 80 mile loops to 250 miles day trips around the beautiful Ozark National Forest. There are many “must see” attractions along the route including the Blanchard Spring Caverns, the Ozark Café in Jasper, and the nightly Music Jam from the local musicians informally assembled at the corner of W Washington and King Streets.

After you check in your room, please come find me (just look for the Society yellow banner) at the Folk Center Wednesday evening to register for the event and run for door prizes including a giant engine parts poster, club badges, t-shirts and door prizes courtesy of Dime City Cycles!

Here are a few route options. Let me know ( which one looks good to you.

Route 1 – 148 miles. Mountain View, Mountain Home – Viola


Route 2 – 244 miles. Mountain Home – Marshall – Jasper – Western Grove – Yellville

OzarkRte2Route 3 – Melbourne – Ash Flat – Cave City – Mountain View


Announcing the 2015 Ozarks Rally

The first edition of this annual event will take place at the heart of the Ozarks National Forest between April 9th and 11th and headquartered at the Ozark Folk Center in Mountain View, AR which features cozy bungalows with two cabins each. The Society has blocked a set of cabins and I am currently working on riding routes. I can tell you with certainty that one of them will involve lunch at the Ozarks Café in Jasper but I am open for suggestions so please send me your recommendations and favorite places ( and roads. Book your rooms, tell your friends, and follow Dick Russell’s excellent suspension setup tips. You will need it!

SONY DSCThe Ozarks Cafe – Jasper, AR

IMG00183-20101006-1410For more information about the Ozark Folk Center and the Cabins, visit the Cente’s website, call 870-269-3851 or by e-mail at

The Great Smoky Mountain Rendezvous Preview

The GSMR is approaching fast and we’re getting ready for the amazing rides that  event coordinator Camden Price has prepared for us. As many members requested (including me), we’ll be bypassing the Tail of the Dragon and exploring the region’s other idyllic roads such as the Devil’s Triangle, the Cherohala Skyway and US 64. Lunch at Lynn’s Place in Robbinsville is mandatory! Have you booked your room yet?

On Thursday, the early birds will be treated to a quick jaunt to the Devil’s Triangle where the fun really begins. According to the website, “The adventure ranges from the bucolic rural Tennessee scenery to a view of Brushy Mountain State Prison; from gentle country road sweepers to gnarly steep switchbacks; from serene straights to Dragon like twisties with guard rails of death; from gentle pull-offs to three foot deep rock strewn gullies just inches from the pavement; from peaceful farmsteads to sections of rutted roadway right out of a horror movie. Yes, the Triangle will get your attention in a hurry. This is no place for the beginning rider.” In summary, don’t do anything stupid.


We’ll start Friday by making a left turn out of the Talley Ho taking the Foothills Parkway to Hwy 72, looping around Fort Loudon State Park to reach Hwy 360 heading towards Tellico Plains. From there, we’ll jump on one of my favorite roads, the Cherohala Skyway, taking our time to stop and enjoy the panoramic views of the Smoky Mountains. We stop at Lynn’s Place in Robbinsville for lunch (chicken cordon bleu!).

Route1-FridayIf you have the itch to ride the Dragon, you can take the Foothills Parkway and make a left on US 129 (we’ll be making a right) and meet us in Robbinsville for lunch.

After dessert, we hop on US129 going south until making a right on US 74 passing by Andrews, Murphy before arriving at Ducktown. From there, Hwy 68 (very cool!) takes us back to Tellico Plains while Hwy 360 will put us on our way back to the hotel.

Camden surely left the best for Saturday when we take Hwy 360 down to the fabulous US 68 passing through Brasstown on our way to Franklin, NC and the Nantahala National Forest. Lunch at Caffé Rel (did someone say Hot Pastrami on Rye?) before refueling and heading to Cherokee. Yes, there are casinos there but who needs to gamble? Isn’t riding a 30 year old motorcycle for 150 miles of mountain roads enough?


From Cherokee, we’ll take US441 crossing the Great Smoky Mountains National Park riding
towards Gatlinburg but before you twist your nose in disgust (yeah…traffic there sucks) we will bypass that entirely by taking the very nice Scenic Old Hwy 73 which follows the Little river for miles before dropping us right back at the Talley Ho.

I’m sure that if we’ll need to do a rescue trip, but if we do, I’m sure it will be to collect a broken Honda somewhere…

We have a very special event scheduled after our group dinner Saturday!  Don’t miss it!

The Handbuilt Motorcycle Show – Austin, TX

While attending the MotoGP races in Austin, TX this past April, I attended the Handbuilt Motorcycle Show in a art gallery-like ambiance in a warehouse located on the east side of downtown. There were stunning creations in the exhibit being the 650 motor the most popular propeller of choice.  Keep in mind that most of those pieces of art will never see asphalt and have being built to showcase the builder’s vision of a motorcycle. Enjoy the show!

IMAG0104The craftsmanship was simple stunning requiring you to stare at each piece for hours to digest each weld and fabrication. Continue reading

2014 Land Between the Lakes Rally Preview

May is here and we are looking forward to the 32nd edition to the Land-Between-the-Lakes Rally (May 16th – 17th). I had the opportunity to stay at the Rally headquarters, Patti’s Inn & Suites right after Christmas last year and I was very pleased with the service and the facilities. What a nice little place! The room was cozy, ultra clean and nicely decorated. The staff went out of their way to make our stay as pleasant as possible which is rare nowadays. We are looking forward seeing you all there!

Patti’s Inn and Suites

As recommended by many Society members, we headed to the Patti’s Settlement in Grand Rivers (which is just a few miles down the road) for a pork chop dinner and we weren’t disappointed. You can find pork chops in many restaurants but the seasoning and sauce there are just spellbinding. Good thing Grand Rivers is a nice little place to walk around and digest the feast. Otherwise, bring the rear shock pre-load adjusting tool. You will need it!

Friday, May 17th:

6:30 am – Free breakfast.
8:00 am – Registration begins. $5 per person.
9:45 am – Early Birds gather on the parking lot for a group ride.
Noon – Lunch at Patti’s 1880’s Restaurant in Grand Rivers.
2:00 pm – Self guided tours.
5:00 pm – Dinner on your own.
7:00 pm – Bench racing, bull sessions, parking lot Show-and-Tell until we fade.

Saturday, May 18th:

6:30 am – Free breakfast.
7:30 am – Registration in Room # 109. $5 per person.
9:00 am – XS 650 Bike Show line-up and photos. Show Manager: Lee Waddington.
9:20 am – Bike Show Judging by vote of attendees.
10:00 am – Mandatory Rider meeting (all riders) in South Lot. Ride Leader: Steve McIver.
10:45 am – Group ride to Lake Barkley Resort for buffet lunch (you will need a full tank).
1:30 pm – Self Guided Touring for the afternoon.
6:00 pm – Awards Dinner at MISS SCARLETT’S restaurant (1 block south). You can walk, but we recommend you ride. Steaks are from Nebraska! Note: Award winners not attending the banquet will not receive any award. Awards Dinner Host: Ken Maxwell.
8:00 pm – Parking Lot Show and Tell, Ride Review, Bragging, Lies.

Sunday, May 19th:
7:30 am – Group breakfast at the Inn. Then good-bye until next year!


From Patti’s Inn & Suites, go south on Hwy 453 (The Trace) to Golden Pond at Hwy 68. Then go east on Hwy 68 crossing Lake Barkley. Watch for Hwy 1489 on your left. Follow Hwy1489 north to Lake Barkley State Resort Park. Great food! (Group Ride)


Route to Lake Barkley State Resort

Route to Lake Barkley State Resort

Online version of the Grand Rivers Visitors Guide here. For more information check out the Event Calendar page.

2014 Eustis Vintage Motorcycle Swap Meet and Bike Show Report

We returned from the Eustis Vintage Bike show with a smile on our faces. After a gloomy start, the weather opened up greeting us with 75 degrees of pure Florida sunshine. We were busy at the Society table, with people from all over the country coming over to talk tech and share stories about their 650s. I just love when someone approach me and start the conversation with “I had a ’77 model when I was in college and…”. I never get tired of hearing each story as it’s a slice of one’s life history.

Society Table at the Eustis Show

Society Table at the Eustis Show

As always, the VJMC took good care of us, reserving a spot inside the Hall right next to the show bikes and their own table. Many thanks to Peter Slatcoff and VMA’S Charles Price for supporting us throughout the weekend.

Good crowd showed up at the show.

Good crowd showed up at the show.

We had a few 650s in the show, including my ’75 and Legacy Cycle’s fantastic pair, a pristine XS1 and a equally awesome XS1-B. Norton Muzzone knows how to build them and it shows as the X1 took top honors (First Place Japanese Classic – 1969 – 1980). Every time he shows up, I know I am not going to win anything…:-)

Legacy Cycles fantastic duo

Legacy Cycles fantastic duo

Fellow Society member Pete Thompson won the Japanese Special category with his Honda CB650 Cafe racer, a.k.a. Magneto which, despite being a Honda, it is a very cool looking (and loud!) bike. I am looking forward seeing the upcoming XS650 cafe racer that we are currently working on.

We capped the weekend in style, riding just a little over 100 miles around Central Florida, dodging Lake County’s Best (they are out there during Daytona Bike Week…) and riding through beautiful farm roads with a mandatory stop at the Yalaha Bakery for lunch. If you take a closer look, the Yamahas outnumbered the Hondas and that’s just fine to me.

Lunch stop at Yalaha Bakery

Lunch stop at Yalaha Bakery

New Chapter for the Yamaha 650 Societyall three

Photo ©Legacy Cycles LLC.

When I was asked to take over the Society reins last September, I was thankful for the opportunity and honored for being trusted with the leadership of an organization that was found on passion and enthusiasm over 33 years ago. I have big shoes to fill! Don Lawson has done a fantastic job in managing the club for over 15 years years so I have my work cut out for me. 

From my end, here’s what I have in mind for the Society in the future. First, we need a bigger online presence to expand our lines of communication. I have already started that with this new website, a simple design that will allow visitors to stay informed of the Society’s activity and interact with other members and with our ever growing Facebook page that generates a great deal of traffic with 650 owners from all over the world posting photos and sharing technical tips. The Facebook Society page is a closed group, meaning it requires my approval before you can have access to it. This is necessary to keep the true to the Society’s spirit avoiding diluting it into a general motorcycle space. I get about 5-8 requests a day, mostly people with legitimate interest in the XS lineage but there are always a few questionable people with questionable motives for joining in.

Second, I would like to grow our membership base in a national level by promoting the Society and introducing it to a new group of people. The newfound general interest for café racers, bobbers and anything out of ordinary, sprung a whole new generation of artists – mostly youngsters – that are building all kinds of bikes using the XS650 engine, some breathtakingly beautiful, others a bit on the weird side. Regardless, they are carving these noisy sculptures with TIG, MIG and that twin engine that we never get tired of listening and they are showing them off at the many rallies and gatherings that have been popping all over the US. Fall/Winter is Florida’s riding season and we already had 3 major classic-café shows with 4 more scheduled for January and February.  Bringing this new generation into the Society will further diversify our roster and bring some color (and interesting motorcycles!) to our rides and rallies.

 photo IMAG0402_zps497866cd.jpg

With life becoming more online, we need to continue to move on the same direction or face extinction. In a few weeks, the members-only area will be ready allowing visitors to read the newsletter online or download and print at home. This will not only allow us more flexibility in assembling and publishing the newsletter but also giving readers the choice of only printing what they want (cam timing tips!). For now, a hard copy of the newsletter will continue to be mailed to members but it that will optional in the future.

There are many ways you can reach me, via the Society’s Facebook page, email (, or by simply commenting any posting here. Looking forward to 2014 and many more miles!